While the news out of Flint MI about the lead contaminated water supply is certainly dominating headlines, it's not the only major city to have a problem with lead levels in children. In New York City, several apartments in public housing projects were found to have lead paint and children living in those areas had increased levels of lead in their blood. Lead poisoning can lead to cognitive delays in children, learning disabilities and other neurological effects. In New York, an investigation revealed that the Dept. of Public Health and Mental Hygiene is accused of filing false reports on the public housing project to cover up the existence of lead.
Not that far away, in New Jersey, the state Department of Environmental Protection has issued a report that tests on the water at over 30 public schools in the state indicate elevated levels of lead in the water students and faculty drink. Finally, in a widespread problem of public corruption and fraud, Baltimore is facing its own lead crisis after a company hired to inspect homes for lead free paint was alleged to have filed false reports on at least seven multi-family apartment houses. Rates of lead poisoning in children in Baltimore is declining from a high in 2000, however there were 129 cases reported in 2016 so far. These are mostly from older homes built before 1978 when lead paint became illegal. Some landlords are unable or unwilling to repaint and the problem is compounded by the fraud found in the inspection services. Freddie Gray, who died in police custody in April 2015, and whose death sparked riots was one of several hundred children to have experienced lead poisoning in a home where lead paint was not disclosed.